All the Exalted make use of the magical powers known as Charms -- predictable, utilitarian uses of Essence, they form the foundation of any Exalt's abilities. But some of the Chosen have discovered the ability to manipulate Essence on a finer, more direct level -- through the arcane practice known as Sorcery. A sorcerer reshapes flows of Essence through sheer willpower -- tapping into the fundamental forces of Creation and bringing them to bear in whatever manner she sees fit. The results can be incredible -- far outstripping what an Exalt might accomplish with Charms alone.
An incantation of Essence made using sorcery is known as a spell. Each individual spell is a significant undertaking to cast, requiring significant willpower and Essence to craft. Each spell is created by the sorcerer at the time of casting out of building blocks known as sigils; it is the combination of these sigils that determines the effect of the spell.
In order to cast a spell, the Exalt must first have gained access to sorcery. This is typically accomplished by learning a Charm which grants access to sorcerous abilities. The knowledge needed to practice sorcery does not come easily -- great effort and greater sacrifices are the price one pays for this power.
Each spell is constructed out of several sigils, each defining some aspect of the spell. A character constructs a spell simply by picking a set of sigils to define the spell's effect. Each sigil also comes associated with a mote cost; the sum of these represents the number of motes required to cast the spell. All spells must have Targets, a Range, a Duration, an Appearance, and a Casting Time, as well as at least one Effect.
The mote cost of a spell also defines its circle, an overall measure of the spell's power. Exalts must purchase the ability to cast each circle of spells separately, and generally pay higher prices in terms of willpower and casting time to unleash spells of higher circles.
Emerald Circle spells are the simplest spells, producing rapid but limited effects. Due to their small scope and quick casting time, they are often better suited to small-scale combat effects and simple utility effects than higher circles. Spells of this circle may cost between 1 and 20 motes.
Sapphire Circle spells are more powerful, producing broader, more impressive effects. Casting a spell of this circle is momentous, though not world-shattering. Spells of this circle are ideally suited to affecting groups of people and to effects which extend for some time. Spells of this circle may cost between 21 and 40 motes.
Adamant Circle spells are the greatest and most powerful spells. This circle can tear down nations or build them anew, bring about wondrous or terrible transformations, and otherwise enact the events of legends. Of all the Exalted, only Solars and their Abyssal counterparts can access sorcery of this power. Spells of this circle may cost 41 or more motes.
To cast a spell, the sorcerer first declares that she is doing so, and immediately spends the costs to do so, listed in the description of the Charm or other source of her sorcerous knowledge. (For example, a Solar casting a Sapphire Circle spell would spend 2 points of temporary Willpower.) She must then begin to craft the spell, manipulating the flows of Essence and joining together the requisite sigils to create the spell. This requires the sorcerer to concentrate fully on the spell, preventing her from taking any other actions or activating any Charms until the spell is successfully cast. (The only exception is for actions granted by Charms or other abilities with a duration, which were activated before the spell was begun.) In addition, a great deal of concentration is necessary to maintain the careful weavings of the spell -- if the caster is struck with an attack or otherwise severely jolted during the process, she must roll Wits + Occult against a difficulty equal to her total number of current wound levels, minimum 1. A failure causes her to lose the spell, expending the Essence but producing no effect. A botch causes the partially shaped Essence to explode, dealing 1 level of lethal damage to the caster for each mote spent on the spell, as well as to anyone else within (10 x the spell's circle) in yards.
Self (0 mote) -- This spell affects the caster as its sole target.
Other (4 motes) -- This spell affects one single other person as a target.
Group (6+ motes) -- This spell affects two people, plus one additional person for each three motes spent.
Small Object (3 motes) -- This spell affects any one object smaller than 5 feet cubed.
Object (10+ motes) -- This spell affects an object of no more than 500 cubic feet, plus 100 for each additional 4 motes spent.
Area (4+ motes) -- This spell affects an area of up to 10 yards by 10 yards, adding an additional 5 feet to either direction for each additional 2 motes.
Tracery (15+ motes) -- The spell affects an area as large as the caster can effectively encircle while casting the spell. This requires either physically tracing out the area or encircling it with markers. In the former case, the Exalt has one hour to do so, plus one hour for each additional 10 motes spent. In the latter case, the Exalt must place the markers no further apart than 100 yards, plus 100 yards for each additional 10 motes spent.
Touch (0 motes) -- The caster must touch the target of the spell in order to affect them with the spell.
Near (1+ motes) -- The spell affects target(s) within 10 yards for each mote spent.
Far (15+ motes) -- The spell affects targets within 1 mile, plus 1 mile for each additional 5 motes spent.
Arcane Link (10 motes) -- This spell affects target(s) or points regardless of their current location. In order to use the spell, the caster must have an item allowing him to connect to the target -- a piece of hair, a vial of blood, a stone from deep in the earth, or other item of great significance.
Instant (0 motes) -- This spell has an instantaneous effect, occurring immediately and then dissipating.
Turns (1+ motes) -- This spell's effect lingers for one turn for each mote spent.
Scene (4 motes) -- This spell's effect lingers for one scene.
Day (8 motes) -- This spell's effect lingers for one day.
Month (16 motes) -- This spell's effect lingers for one month.
Year (32 motes) -- This spell's effect lingers for one year.
Conditional (20+ motes) -- This spell's effect lingers until a condition is met. For 20 motes, that condition is easily accomplishable; for 30, it would be a significant undertaking; for 40, it would be an epic quest suitable for the greatest heroes.
Repeating (5+ motes) -- This spell's effect is applied when it takes effect, and again on a consecutive turn for each 5 motes spent. (This is useful for damage effects, for example.)
Signature (0 motes) -- The spell or its targets are altered in a purely cosmetic, obvious fashion. Typically this produces a visible effect that is related to the effects of the spell -- a spell granting soak might turn the target's skin to stone, for example. This spell has a visible Essence flare associated with it.
No Effects (10 motes) -- This spell produces no obvious visual changes, though it still produces an Essence flare.
No Flare (20 motes) -- This spell has no Essence flare associated with its use and produces no obvious visual effects.
Normal (0 motes) -- This spell takes one turn to cast for each circle.
Short (10+ motes) -- This spell's casting time is reduced by one turn for each 10 motes spent. If that casting time is reduced to 0 turns, it takes place instantly.
Reactive (5+ motes) -- This spell's casting time is reduced by one turn for each 5 motes spent, as long as it is directly in reaction to an action it is intended to counteract -- a counterspell against an opposing caster, or a defensive shield against a missile attack.
Ritual (3+ motes) -- This spell requires an elaborate ritual in order to be cast. This requires one hour, plus an hour for each additional 3 motes. This allows the caster to include an additional 5 points of sigils in the spell, plus 5 for each additional hour.
Damage (1+ motes) -- This spell deals damage to its targets or those within its area of effect -- 3 bashing for each 2 motes spent, or 1 lethal for each mote spent.
Defense (1+ motes) -- This spell provides a persistent defense against all attacks, which rolls 1 die for each 2 motes spent. Alternately, it provides a persistent defense against a limited category of attacks (say, only ranged attacks) for 1 mote per die. Either mode has a maximum limit of the caster's highest possible defense pool.
Weapon (1+ motes) -- This spell creates a weapon, or improves a target's weaponry, by 1 point in a given statistic for each mote spent, to a limit of four times the caster's maximum possible ability score.
Soak (1+ motes) -- This spell increases the target's bashing soak by +3 for each 2 motes spent, her lethal soak by +1 for each mote spent, or her hardness by +1 for each 3 motes spent.
Difficulty (2+ motes) -- This spell increases the difficulty of all attacks against the target(s) by +1 for each 3 motes spent, or the difficulty of all attacks within a limited category (for example, all melee attacks) for each 2 motes spent. This is to a limit of the caster's maximum possible ability score.
Basic (0 motes) -- This spell performs an action on the target(s) which a normal human could perform without a roll -- speak a brief message, tie back one's hair, and so on.
Dice (2+ motes) -- Adds dice to the target's attempts to perform a certain type of action. This costs 3 motes per die to add dice to all rolls of a certain Attribute + Ability, or 2 motes per die to add dice which are as applicable as a specialty. The caster cannot exceed the current maximum possible value of her dice adder cap for this effect.
Successes (4+ motes) -- Adds successes to the target's attempts to perform a certain type of action. This costs 6 motes per success to add successes to all rolls of a certain Attribute + Ability, or 4 motes per success to add successes which are as applicable as a specialty. The caster cannot exceed her maximum possible ability score.
Effect (2+ motes) -- This spell has an effect equivalent to successful ability roll. Each two motes spent is equivalent to a single success on an attempt to perform a specific task using a specific Attribute + Ability roll. This success applies throughout the spell's duration. (For example, for 10 motes, the target could consistently move across treacherous surfaces, ropes, or even walls as if she had rolled 5 successes on a Dexterity + Athletics roll.)
Travel (1+ motes) -- Moves the target through space, or allows the target to move under its own volition. Each mote allows a weight of 10 lbs to move at up to 100 mph. (Thus, a 100 lb target would require 10 motes to move at 100 mph, and a 10 lb target would require 10 motes to move at 1000 mph.)
Sense (5+ motes) -- This spell gives the caster the ability to share a sense with the target, or vice versa, allowing one to experience some or all of the sensory input given the other. Each sense shared costs 5 motes.
Summoning (10+ motes) -- Summons a being which exists in the world to the Sorcerer. (Elaborate on this later -- much cheaper to summon things that are geased to be summonable, such as demons and elementals).
Conjuration (1+ motes) -- Brings into being a creature made entirely of Essence, which serves the caster faithfully. Such a being begins with all stats equal to 0, and receives 1 conjuration point to increase these stats for each mote spent. Determine their size based on their Strength and Stamina ratings. Such beings may have Essence ratings greater than 1, though no higher than the caster's.
Enhancement (3+ motes) -- Improves the statistics of an existing creature during the duration of the spell. This spell gives the target 1 temporary conjuration point to be spent on improving her stats for each 3 motes spent.
Degeneration (4+ motes) -- Reduces the statistics of an existing creature during the duration of the spell. The caster can remove 1 conjuration point's worth of statistics for each 4 motes spent on the spell.
1 attribute point -- 1
3 ability points -- 1
2 virtues -- 1
1 willpower -- 1
1 charm -- 5
1 essence -- 5
Subtle Transformation (10+ motes) -- Alters the appearance of the target or the spell in a specific fashion. This can take any concievable form approximating the correct shape of the target. The difficulty to observe this change as being illusory is equal to the caster's Essence, plus 1 for each additional 5 motes spent.
Shape (5+ motes) -- Alters the shape of the target. 5 motes allows changes to specific elements while maintaining the overall shape; 10 motes allows reasonably significant alterations to form; 15 motes allows gross and complete changes.
Substance (5+ motes) -- Alters the substance of the target. 5 motes allows changes between similar substances (for example, water and wine); 10 motes allows fairly distinct changes (like wood into metal); 15 motes allows huge changes (like straw into gold); 20 motes allows completely opposed transformations (like water into fire). Magical Materials cannot be created or destroyed in this fashion.